Around 10 p.m. on March 5, Lundeby said, armed FBI agents along with three local law enforcement officers stormed her home looking for her son, a tenth grader. They handcuffed him and presented her with a search warrant. “I was terrified,” Lundeby’s mother said. “There were guns, and I don’t allow guns around my children. I don’t believe in guns.”
Lundeby told the officers that someone had hacked into her son’s IP address and was using it to make crank calls connected through the Internet, making it look like the calls had originated from her home when they did not. Her argument was ignored, she said. Agents seized a computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records, according to federal search warrants. “There were no bomb-making materials, not even a blasting cap, not even a wire,” Lundeby said. Ashton now sits in a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind.
How did this happen? It’s called the USA Patriot Act, and it grants law enforcement authorities police-state powers whenever they think national security is affected. In many cases, they no longer have to justify themselves to courts and secure warrants, and when they do need warrants, the process is steamrollered. Ms. Lundeby says they used the USA Patriot Act to “suspend her son’s due process rights.” That’s exactly right. All they have to do is call him a terrorist. And no matter how absurd that claim is (as is the case with a 16-year-old who can prove he was at a church function at the time an alleged bomb threat was made), the National Surveillance State’s police powers are essentially beyond question. Maybe it’s time to repeal the Patriot Act.